After becoming extinct in 1952, cheetahs are about to make a comeback in the Indian subcontinent, and that too almost 50 of them by the next 5 years.
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav launched the action plan at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) saying, “The Cheetah that became extinct in independent India, is all set to return.”
An NTCA official had earlier said that the plan to reintroduce cheetahs had gone awry due to COVID-19. As per a 300 pager action plan, a group of 10-12 young cheetahs that are suitable for reintroduction shall be imported from Namibia or South Africa as a founder stock during the first year.
“An existing coalition of wild males shall be selected while the selected females shall also be known to each other as far as possible. The animals’ lineage and condition shall be checked in the host country to ensure that they are not from an excessively inbred stock and are in the ideal age group, so as to conform to the needs of a founding population,” is what the Action Plan states.
10 sites were surveyed in India, the topmost priority based on suitable conditions was the Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh, which included suitable habitat and a dense prey base.
In the meeting, Mr. Yadav said that the Prime Minister is keen on protecting and conserving seven major big cats including Cheetah. The Union Minister also released a Water Atlas on Wednesday, mapping all the water bodies in the tiger-bearing areas of India.
The atlas has information about the presence of such bodies in several areas, including the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic plain landscape, Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats landscape, North Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra flood plains and Sundarbans.
All About The Big Cats
Mr. Yadav also said that the tiger continues to be an endangered species. He said that it is imperative that we have a reliable estimate of tiger numbers at the Tiger Reserve & Landscape Level for their effective management.
“The 5th cycle of All India Tiger Estimation which is currently underway will help in taking correct policy decisions. We have 51 Tiger Reserves in the country and efforts are being made to bring more areas under the Tiger Reserve network,” the minister continued.
He also laid stress upon the fact that the tiger reserves have more than 35 rivers originating from the region, therefore the reserves would not only impact tigers but the entire river ecosystem as a whole in India.
He went on to identify air-guns being a part of the problem with regards to poaching of animals and has laid advisories for education and surrendering of arms with the help of the governments of states and union territories.
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This post is tagged under: cheetah, forest, forest conservation, tiger conservation, cheetah extinct in India, cheetah coming back, water conservation, river systems of India, Environment Ministry of India, National Tiger Conservation Authority